Please join us Monday, June 6, at 7pm (EST) for a Prayer Gathering.

Below is an email from Interfaith Action of Southwest Michigan regarding gun violence.

This past week we’ve witnessed gun killings at a Presbyterian Church in California, a supermarket in New York, and an elementary school in Texas.  There are more guns than residents of the U.S. – more than 400 million. Hate speech flourishes – against persons of color, religious minorities, immigrants, and LGBTQ people; and these hate crimes and killings become the horrendous consequence of hate speech. White supremacy messages erode our hope for unity amidst diversity.  Amidst this situation,  faith communities have a voice to raise – a voice of inclusion, non violence, justice. Let’s be the voice of peace.

In April, the New England Journal of Medicine released a research report concluding that “Guns became the leading cause of death among children and teens in 2020, killing more people ages 1 to 19 in the U.S. than vehicle crashes, drugs overdoses or cancer.  The University of Michigan recently released a report that firearms are now the #1 cause of death for children and youth, surpassing all others. 

In May, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released an analysis on gun related deaths. Here are the key findings:

  • The U.S. homicide rate from gun violence rose 35% in the first year of the pandemic to the highest level since 1994, according to the CDC.
  • Excluding suicides, more than 19,000 people were killed by guns in 2020 compared with more than 14,000 the year prior, according to the CDC report. 
  • Homicides from gun violence increased among people of every age, in most racial groups, for men and women, in cities and in rural areas, and in every region of the nation.
  • Black Americans suffered the most with the homicide rate from gun violence increasing nearly 40% to 26.6 per 100,000 people, about 12 times higher than the rate among white Americans.

Each year, Interfaith Action encourages faith communities to commemorate Gun Violence Reduction which this year falls on the weekend of June 3-5. Given that June 5th is Pentecost in the Christian tradition, some Christian congregations will celebrate Gun Violence Reduction Sabbath on June 12th. Celebrating Gun Violence Reduction Sabbath is more important this year than ever before. Interfaith Action’s resource guide is a toolkit to guide faith communities in being a counter-voice, advancing gun safety and gun violence reduction. 

Please see below for a comprehensive resource guide (including prayers, songs, and 3 weeks of announcements to prepare for the Gun Violence Sabbath.)

We are people of peace, celebrate Gun Violence Reduction sabbath. 

Wear Orange !  Check out the resource guide by clicking here to find out why.